College Hockey:
Gaudet’s OT game-winner helps BU beat Cornell

— Between a 1-1 tie and a 23-23 shot total through regulation, there was not much difference between No. 15 Boston University and No. 17 Cornell on Saturday.

And both coaches couldn’t argue that a 2-1 final score was a totally fair outcome.

One significant contrast though, was that each coach believed his team deserved the win. That depended on what you heard — or didn’t hear — on a bizarre, but crucial, play with four minutes left in regulation.

Cornell left wing John Esposito took a shot that went over the BU goal and way up in the air. A good three seconds later, when players on both teams had given up on the puck as out of play, it came down on goalie Kieran Millan’s neck and went into the net.  After a lengthy video review, it was ruled that the whistle had blown.

That set the stage for BU’s Ross Gaudet to become the unlikely hero on a great redirect of a Max Nicastro shot at 2:48 of overtime to give the Terriers a dramatic 2-1 win in front of a spirited sellout crowd of 18,200 in this year’s Red Hot Hockey game at Madison Square Garden. Adam Clendening scored BU’s other goal, while Locke Jillson scored for the Big Red.

Cornell coach Mike Shafer minced no words after the game.

“Obviously a great game and a great environment,” he said. “I’m still at a loss for words why the goal wasn’t called. The officials said they heard the whistle. There was no whistle. I was just disappointed because our players deserved for them to get the call right. You don’t get many chances to come down here as a player or a coach.”

BU coach Jack Parker saw, and heard, the play differently.

“They lost sight of the puck for a long time,” Parker said. “They should’ve blown the whistle before that. After they blew the whistle, the puck went in the net. You could hear it clearly on the replay.”

The controversy overshadowed another great story: Gaudet’s goal was his first of the season, and Parker admitted that he had “hemmed and hawed for days” about whether to put Gaudet in the lineup over freshman Evan Rodrigues. Finally he decided to go for an upperclassman who would not have another chance to play in Madison Square Garden. Gaudet only learned of the decision around 1:45 this afternoon.

“It’s the most exciting goal I’ve ever scored, and one of the best moments of my athletic career,” Gaudet said.

BU was clearly the stronger team through the first period-plus. The Terriers came out skating and hitting, outshooting the Big Red 12-5 in the first period. They scored their first goal on a five-on-three after Cornell got called for two penalties in two seconds, much to Shafer’s displeasure.

On the goal, Alex Chiasson shot from the right-wing side. The puck went off a Cornell defender’s skate and caromed to Clendening in the left-wing circle. His low shot beat Andy Iles to make it 1-0 at 11:07.

The tide gradually turned in the second period, and Cornell was clearly dominating through the last 10 minutes of it. They had three good chances, most notably a chance for Matt D’agostino at 13:30 when he got a feed crashing the far post, but shot just wide.

“I thought it was a fabulous college hockey game to watch,” Parker said. “It seemed like they had 50 shots in the second period.  They had all kinds of possession, and some great opportunities. But then I looked at the stat sheet and realized we blocked 21 shots.”

Millan played great under pressure.

“Kieran was terrific tonight — one of his best games ever, especially in the second period, when they were all over the net.”

Back on their heels, BU kept bending, and finally broke midway through the third period. From the left wing corner, Cole Bardreau fed it to Sean Whitney at the right point. Whitney deked around a defender, cruised in, and shot. The rebound caromed out at a sharp angle, and Locke Jillson threw it at the net. The puck glanced off the skate of BU centerman Charlie Coyle in the crease and caught the far corner of the net.

That set the stage for the nongoal with four minutes left, and the Gaudet game-winner in overtime. By then, BU had finally picked it up again and had been looking the best they had since the first period. Ben Rosen got the puck along the left-wing boards and fed it to Max Nicastro at the right point. He shot, and Gaudet somehow managed to get a piece of the shot with his back to the net, redirecting it in low for the dramatic winner. Gaudet celebrated in the style of Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow, going into a genuflecting position.

BU (7-4-1) hopes to extend its four-game winning streak when facing archrival Boston College in a home-and-home series next weekend. Cornell (6-3) hosts St. Lawrence and Clarkson on Friday and Saturday.

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  • Css228

    HEA refs stole this game from Cornell.

    • Kazzy53

      In Hockey East we don’t say HE refs stole the game, we say BU refs stole it.

  • Cbear22

    Refs got the call right, clearly.

    • Anonymous

      Even if we’re going to say that call was right, explain the phantom interference that lead to the 5 v. 3 or the embellishment call when D’ags was pulled down. It seems like the accompanying holding penalty is incoherent when paired with a diving penalty. Everyone in that area knew Cornell deserved to win. 

      • jstang17

        phantom interference?  He clearly took the man down.  Replay shows it was the right call.

        • DiveMaster69

          When our guys fall it’s diving.  When your guys fall it’s interference.

      • Rjeurotrip

        Neither squad deserved a loss here, but I can’t agree that Cornell “deserved to win”.  This was even as they come, with each side dominating for a large stretch of play.  In the end it comes down to who makes the big play, and the OT redirect was a fantastic display of skill.  

        I’m always impressed by the Cornell turnout as this game – but the outnumbered terrier contingent leaves happy.   was a great night at the garden.

  • Stu B

    I was at the game, and Cornell got jobbed on that call.

  • LGR

    The no-goal call was technically the right call but the ref blew the play by losing sight of the puck.
    Completely agree that the more egregious calls were the interference call against Birch in the first period leading to the nearly 2 minute 5×3 for BU and subsequently their first goal of the night and then the embellishment?? call against D’Agostino when he was tripped and had a stick between his legs.
    Hard to believe that they can’t get a neutral conference officiating crew for this game.
    That said, the refs didn’t lose the game for Cornell (who missed the net about a dozen times from inside the face off dots and launched another dozen into BU defensemen).

    • Anonymous

      technically the right call, but its the refs job to follow the puck until its killed or out of play. I did hear during the Flyers Rangers game that the ice was bad, and I wonder if that had to do with both teams sloppy finishing.

  • Guest

    If you were at the game you’d know above all else, Cornell beat themselves.  They had ample opportunities to put the buck b/w the pipes and they failed.  Stop crying about the refs.

    • ScrewBU

      Call it crying or whatever else you want but the officiating was awful.  And does Jack Parker hold a summer camp on how to dislodge the net without getting caught?  Happened twice.

      • Guest

        call the waaaahmbulance

  • Weighart

    An interesting observation in the media room after the game: The consensus is that only Hockey East refs seem to call embellishment as a penalty.  Thus when it was called in this game, those used to seeing HE games thought it was reasonable, while Cornell fans found it outlandish.

    Obviously, more uniformity calling/not calling embellishment across college hockey would help situations like these.

  • trainshockeyfan

    Wow. Cornell fans whine as much as there coach does, which he has done since he became their coach. Great game to watch.

  • Anonymous

    The whistle was as audible as Boston College blow hard BS at any sport and any time. Even though our opponent was Cornell, I had to use BC as a negative example. The Back Bay College is THE hockey college in Boston TYVM. 

  • Pauli

    I did not see the game.  I am a BU Alum.  I am a BU season ticket holder.  And I can totally empathize with all aforementioned comments because – HEA officiating SUCKS!!!!

  • Mhm0622

    great hockey game pro or college none the less. daughter frosh at bu and son just out of cornell.  at the game and had a great time.  wished it ended in a second tie !

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